Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.) has come under scrutiny for his purchase of a luxury condominium in his home state, with critics pointing to potential ethical conflicts of interest stemming from the sale‘s link to a major Virginia energy corporation.
Kaine announced in his annual financial disclosure that he and his wife Anne Holton had purchased a multi–unit condominium in Richmond for up to $1 million on March 8, 2022. Local real estate records show the property was sold by George Marget, a deputy general counsel at Dominion Energy, an energy company with major holdings in the state.
The condominium‘s listing boasted two master suites and a gourmet kitchen, as well as three parking spaces. On top of the sale, Kaine reported earning up to $15,000 for renting the condo back to the “previous owner.” A spokesperson for Kaine clarified that the filing should have stated “previous occupant,” as the condo was rented to a tenant who had been living there at the time of the purchase.
Dominion plays a major role in Virginia‘s energy industry, developing the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, the state‘s first offshore wind farm. When completed in 2026, the project will include between 176 and 205 turbines. Kaine has been an active promoter of the development, urging federal officials to fast–track its permitting and securing millions of dollars in government funding to support construction.
Kaine‘s past financial records have further raised eyebrows, as his campaign, from 2011 to the present, has received a total of $67,500 from Dominion‘s political action committee. Additionally, Kaine announced in January his plans to seek re–election in 2024.
Dominion has defended Marget amid the controversy, saying he sold his condos through a “public sale process“ and that the buyer and seller were kept at an “arm‘s length.” The energy company noted that monthly payments from an unrelated tenant continued throughout the sale and that Marget did not need to disclose the transaction to Dominion.
However, some legal scholars have argued potential ethical conflicts may still exist. “If a senator’s business dealings create a plausible inference of corruption, no matter how facially innocent those dealings may appear, the senator is failing a fundamental test of integrity,” Gil Klein, a specialist in ethics law, wrote in The Washington Post.
Kaine‘s office has not commented on the ethical implications of the purchase but has asserted that the purchase of the condominium was handled through realtors and is of no benefit to Dominion. For now, it remains to be seen if the senator‘s purchase of the condo will bring about any repercussions.